Some 5,000 people attend the North Carolina funeral of the three Muslim students murdered in Chapel Hill on Thursday as the FBI announced it has opened a probe into the killings. Today, we hear from one of the victims, Yusor Abu-Salha, in her own words. Last year, Abu-Salha went into a StoryCorps booth to record an interview with her third grade teacher, Mussarut Jabeen of the Al-Iman School in Raleigh. "Growing up in America has been such a blessing. And although in some ways I do stand out, such as the hijab I wear on my head, the head covering, there are still so many ways that I feel so embedded in the fabric that is, you know, our culture,” Abu-Salha said. The other two victims, Deah Barakat and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, also attended Al-Iman.
The fatal police shooting of a teenage girl in Denver has drawn protests amidst a nationwide push for more police accountability. On the morning of January 26, Denver police shot and killed 17-year-old Jessica Hernandez. They say she and several teenage friends were driving a stolen car that struck and injured an officer. Police Chief Robert White says his officers repeatedly told her to get out of the car before they opened fire. But a passenger says Hernandez lost control of the car only after she was shot and became unconscious. Witnesses say Hernandez was dragged from the car, apparently unconscious. A video captured by a neighbor shows police handcuffed and appeared to search her after she was shot, rolling her on her back and stomach as she lay limp and motionless. The two officers involved in the shooting have been put on administrative leave while the incident is investigated. Last Thursday, activists at the National Conference on LGBTEquality that took place in Denver protested Hernandez’s killing by forcing Mayor Michael Hancock to cancel a planned speech. And on Saturday, an estimated 800 people gathered for Hernandez’s funeral. We are joined by two guests: Mimi Madrid Puga, a community organizer and board member of the Colorado Anti-Violence Program, and Qusair Mohamedbhai, a civil rights lawyer and attorney for the Hernandez family.
Broadcasting from Denver, Colorado, Amy Goodman visits the First Unitarian Society Church to meet Arturo Hernández García, an undocumented immigrant and father of two. Since October, García has sought sanctuary at the church as he fights his deportation. We also hear from his nine-year-old daughter Andrea, a United States citizen. Her status means he may be allowed to stay in the country under President Obama’s new deferred action program starting in May — if he is not deported before then. We also hear from Beth Chronister, assistant minister at the First Unitarian Society Church in Denver, and activist Jennifer Piper of the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition, who helped García enter sanctuary.
We look at a Wall Street scandal that has generated little attention but impacts millions of American public workers. In recent years, cities and states have been increasingly investing worker pensions in risky hedge funds, private equity and other so-called "alternative investments." Many of the investments are being done in secret while politically connected Wall Streets firms — including Blackstone, the Carlyle Group and Elliott Management — earn millions in investment fees from taxpayers. Denver-based journalist David Sirota recently revealed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who once served as President Obama’s chief of staff, received more than $600,000 in campaign contributions from executives at investment firms that manage Chicago pension funds. Sirota also revealed the head of a New Jersey board that determines how the state invests its $80 billion pension fund was in direct contact with top political and campaign fundraising aides for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during his re-election bid. Meanwhile, some states, including Illinois, Kentucky and Rhode Island, have faced criticism for blocking the release of information about how their pension funds are being handled. We speak with David Sirota, senior writer at the International Business Times, who authored the 2013 report, "The Plot Against Pensions," published by the Institute for America’s Future.
Full episodes of Democracy Now! can be viewed at the link: http://freespeech.org/collection/democracy-now.
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